Naturally ... effective products without the nasties

Natural skincare, organic products, a first from Dr Hauschka and happy, healthy hair

There were a few hits and misses this summer in terms of Hollywood blockbusters, rain-or-shine barbecues, sunscreen applications and product launches. As for the latter, I’ve tried and tested a few of the latest beauty products to hit the shelves, so you don’t have to.

British natural skincare brand Balance Me, founded by three sisters 10 years ago, expanded its range this summer with two new products: the Collagen Boost Restore & Replenish Cream Cleanser and Face Cream (Debenhams,

The pair are meant to boost collagen synthesis – or plump up your face – with a combination of peptides, hyaluronic acid and blackberry leaf extract.

The rich, creamy cleanser is a pleasure to use and perfectly efficient at shifting dirt and grime, and even better when paired with a warm cloth. The moisturiser is hydrating, not too heavy and leaves a good base for make-up.


That said, the moisturiser’s sweet scent is a bit overpowering for me, and at €48, I’m not tempted to go back for seconds. I’d stick with the cleanser for €22.

If you prefer going organic whenever possible, French brand Florame is well worth a look. Arnotts added the Provence-based specialist in essential oils, aromatherapy and natural skincare to its beauty hall this summer.

The extensive range includes serums, make-up remover, eye gel, perfumes and body oils. There’s also a men’s range.

I usually prefer rich, cream cleansers, so Florame’s runny Cleansing Oil (€31.50) looked rather unimpressive the first time I squeezed it into my palm. Surprisingly, it lathers up nicely and rinses off well, sweeping away the day’s dirt with it.

Of course, organic means pricier products, but Florame’s formulas have some of the highest percentages of organic ingredients on the market. Most of the face creams contain more than 80 per cent organic ingredients. Some even go over 90 per cent.

The pioneering German brand Dr Hauschka ( has always promoted a basic skincare routine: cleanse, tone, follow with moisturiser in the morning, but let your skin breathe at night. It doesn't believe in night creams; slapping on layers of product before bed just prevents your skin's natural oils from doing their job, they say.

This summer, however, the brand launched an oil-free Night Serum (€39.95) intended to help, not hinder, what your skin can do on its own.

If your skin is very dry, you might want something richer, but I love how lightweight and fresh this serum feels, and smells.

Key ingredients include apple fruit hydrosol, apple blossom extract and witch hazel extracts. It’s a welcome addition.

In terms of natural hair care, the American health and beauty brand Intelligent Nutrients has made it to Ireland.

Founded by the late Horst Rechelbacher, the man behind Aveda, Intelligent Nutrients is committed to plant-based, non-toxic, organic ingredients.

Among the many ingredients you won’t find in their shampoos, conditioners, styling gels and hairsprays are sulfates, parabens, phthalates, pesticides, herbicides and artificial fragrance.

I’ve been using the Harmonic Shampoo and Harmonic Conditioner, which smell mildly of mint, for a few months now. They’re pricey, but they’re some of the best natural hair care products I’ve used.

My hair doesn't look weighed down or oily, just clean, fresh and full. Look out for them in Avoca and select hair salons.